Thursday, August 9, 2012

Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Title: Perfect Chemistry

Author: Simone Elkeles 

Rating: 3/5 Stars 

Perfect Chemistry is one of those books that everyone seems to love. It has everything a girl could ever want in a book, doesn’t it?

  1. Swoon-Worthy Love Interest? Check!
  2. Blonde Cheerleader MC? Check!
  3. Flirty Banter? Check!
  4. Drama/Problems? Check!
  5. Steamy Romance? Check!
That, I think is where my problems with this novel lie. Perfect Chemistry reads much like a checklist – as if Simone Elkeles looked at the afore-mentioned list and created a story to perfectly revolve around those very same ideals. Yet, while its predictability disappointed me, I’ve come to realize that Perfect Chemistry is one of those novels that is meant to be predictable. Elkeles has written a cute, funny, and HOT romance which is meant to be taken at face-value and, for what it’s worth, it’s good, enjoyable, and oh-so-sexy.

I don’t even think I need to give you a summary of this novel, but I will anyway. Brittany seems to have it all – she’s beautiful, wears designer clothes, has top grades, is head cheerleader, and her parents are loaded with money. Beneath this perfect exterior, however, is a family falling apart. Brittany’s older sister, Shelley, is mentally disabled and as such, her parents force Brittany to become their perfect daughter. Yet, to Alex Fuentes who has seen his father die before his very eyes, Brittany seems to be nothing but a blonde airhead. Stuck in the midst of a dangerous gang and struggling to give his mother and two younger brothers the life – and higher education – he can’t have, Alex loathes everything that Brittany stands for and vice versa. Thus, when he makes a bet to get into Ms. Perfect’s pants, he hardly expects to care for her – until, that is, they are paired together for a year-long chemistry project and chemistry sparks begin to fly. In the midst of their growing romance though, still lies the looming threat of their differences and a dangerous gang, so if Alex wants to win that bet, it isn’t simply Brittany’s heart he’ll be breaking – it might be his as well.

I’ll admit it – I had fun reading this novel. Alex, like most male protagonists these days, is incredibly good-looking and he knows it. I loved the flirty banter between these two, their steamy romance, and most of all, how well they understood one another. One of my favorite aspects of this novel was seeing Alex and Brittany struggle to work past their differences and find a way to still be together and hang out, even in settings vastly different to what they were used to. I thought it was portrayed so realistically and the hurdles they worked through only strengthened the bond between them. In addition, I really liked the fact that Elkeles managed to bring out important themes of diversity through her story. Brittany must breach the social gap between not only herself and Alex, but her friends and those of Alex as well which was both interesting and heart-warming to note.

Yet, for all its cute, fun, and romantic qualities, I was unable to fall in love with Perfect Chemistry. Elkeles attempts to flesh out Brittany and Alex as deeper and more profound characters through their family situations. In terms of Alex, I was disappointed by the lack of devotion I felt for his family. Yes, Elkeles told us that Alex loved his family and was willing to do anything for them, but when push came to shove, Alex ultimately only ever did anything because of Brittany. I appreciate their love for one another, but I wish that Alex’s bond with his brothers, or at least his mother, could have been better developed. Brittany, on the other hand, I found to be too stereotypical – or her family at any rate. I think the best way I can describe them is to tell you that they are The Dursleys.

The Dursleys = Brittany’s Family
  1. They NEED to maintain an outward appearance of normalcy and perfection, which includes top-notch clothes, fancy cars, large homes, and wealthy contacts.
  2. They NEED to hide some member of their family, whether it be Harry or Shelley because these two are weird and different.
  3. They NEED to have one perfect child to show off to the world, whether it be Dursley who they pamper with food or Brittany who they pamper with clothes. 
See what I mean? The Dursleys = Brittany’s Family. Yet, while Rowling shows us that the Dursley’s are not as black-and-white and pure-evil as they seem, Elkeles never does, leaving me with yet more disappointment. Yet, I have to admit that I loved Brittany’s relationship with Shelley. I thought it was utterly heart-warming and extremely compelling.

So, at the end of the day, Perfect Chemistry is a sweet, dramatic, and romantic novel. While I adored the romance and witty banter, I wished the character relationships could have been better developed. I really did like the high school setting though as that allowed for the novel to have larger themes and the friendships portrayed were also very realistic, but for the most part, this book is simply a cheesy romance – which is okay! Every once in awhile we all need a novel we can curl up with and know we can laugh and have fun with and Perfect Chemistry is that story. While I’m not jumping up and down to get my hands on the sequel of this one, I may check it out in the future and will definitely be recommending this read to those looking for mindless reading with just a touch of depth, originality, and plenty of Alex Fuentes romance! 


  1. I absolutely adored this book when I read it, but looking back on it I think I may have shown a little too over-excitement. I think if I was to go back and read it now, a lot of things would irritate me to to death! Unfortunately the series for me did go downhill for me afterwards, I felt it was one cliched mess after another and little too much deja-vuish! Sorry I'm not trying to put you off! But another great honest review Keertana! :)

    1. Thanks, Jasprit! I'm not too sure whether or not I'll be continuing the series - probably not for awhile at any rate. I've heard that this was the best of the trilogy, so I may not check out the other books after all. I think this was such a fun novel and I would have gone crazy over it a few years ago too, but I wasn't too fond of it now, but I did love reading it, so I'm glad you were able to enjoy this one as well! :D

  2. Hah, well...not everyone loved it! ;) I thought it was okay, but I didn't find it as swoon-worthy as everyone else seems to. I'm glad I'm not alone!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. Yay, I'm not alone either! I thought the swoon-worthy scenes were quite good, but the overall story was lacking a little something for me. Still, it was definitely an enjoyable story, but I'm glad not everyone loved this one! ;)

  3. I really enjoyed this one for the most part, I'm such a fan of witty banter and tension-filled romance that I got sucked right into this one. I loved Brittany's relationship with Shelley as well, that was definitely a highlight for me, and I wanted to smack her mother for continually trying to send her away for the sake of appearances. Despite the problems you had with it, I'm glad you had fun reading at least! That's something:):)

  4. Lovely, descriptive review, Keertana!

    Also, I can't believe I hadn't already discovered Ivy Book Bindings! It's a lovely blog, and I'll be stopping by a lot more often now.:) xxx

    Jessica from Booked Up!

  5. Okay, I had to giggle when you used the Dursleys as a comparison. I'm going to have a hard ever rereading this without making this connection now :P Every point you make is absolutely valid. I read this ages ago and couldn't help but fall for it, even though I could TOTALLY recognise the cheesy parts and flaws. While a shame you weren't one of those who absolutely fell in love, I'm happy to hear you still enjoyed it! Fantabulous review!

  6. I haven't read anything by this author before. I doubt this would be my sort of book, but I do like the sound of the witty banter. That's always entertaining. ;) Great review, Keertana!

  7. Sad that you wasn't able to fall in love completely with Perfect Chemistry but I am still glad you enjoyed it! I remember reading Perfect Chemistry last year and absolutely loved it. And yes, Alex Fuentes is such an AWESOME guy! I like how the book is written from both his and Britanny's POV so we can actually know what is going on in his head ;)

    Anyway, awesome review, Keertana! ♥ So glad you enjoyed it :)

  8. Aww, I have a friend who completely adored this book but I can see your points, Keertana! <3 Actually this book reminds me a bit of Pushing the Limits, with all the bad boy-good girl thingy, but you're so amazing comparing Dursley's family with Brittany's family LOL! I laughed like crazy when I read this review!! x)

    Amazing comparison er review, Keertana! <3 Although you didn't fall in love with this book, I'm glad that you're curious enough to pick the sequel! :)

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